SHANNON TRAIL RELIVES THE LEWIS & CLARK ADVENTURE IN NORTHEAST NEBRASKA
Shannon Trail Promoters was created in 2001 in an effort to make Lewis & Clark history come alive, to promote tourism, and to unite area communities in a common effort. The Nebraska communities involved are Bloomfield, Bow Valley, Center, Creighton, Crofton, Hartington, Lindy, Niobrara, St. Helena, St. James, Santee, Verdel, Verdigre, Wausa, Winnetoon, Wynot, and the Ponca and Santee Sioux Nations. The Trail encompasses an area steeped in history, dotted with pioneer cemeteries and ghost towns. Jesse James reportedly hid out in the rugged wooded terrain known as the Devil’s Nest, where a curious formation of trees and brush on a hillside forms the word, “DEVIL.”
A National Park Service grant and donations from local banks contributed to the placing of sixteen wayside signs commemorating the life of George Shannon. Following the Expedition, he was wounded in a battle with the Arikara in a failed attempt to return the Mandan chief, Shekeke, to his village; his leg was subsequently amputated above the knee. He helped Nicholas Biddle prepare the first narrative account of the Expedition for publication. Shannon then became an attorney and circuit judge, served in the Kentucky and Missouri state legislatures and ran against Thomas Hart Benton in a bid for the U.S. Senate. He died at age 50.
A local artist, the late Joe Serres, created thirteen life-size wooden chainsaw statues of Private Shannon, each in a different pose, one complete with a horse. These are located in participating communities along the 240-mile trail, artfully displayed among native plantings, wildlife carvings, national and state flags and the distinctive Shannon flag with artist Ray Kelly’s drawing of Shannon on a yellow background. The Lindy display also features a Nebraska Department of Roads historic Lewis & Clark Campsite sign.